• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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FG begins new vehicle registry system to increase revenue, tackle insecurity

Finance minister, others oppose repeal of Customs Act 2004

Minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday, said the pilot phase of the new National Vehicle Registry (VERG) automated gateway portal has begun in Lagos state, aimed at increasing national revenue, curb smuggling and other criminal activities.

The minister explained that VERG is the centralized database for all vehicles in Nigeria using their unique Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN), which stores detailed vehicular information such as specifications, ownership, and history of each vehicle in Nigeria.

Under this system, vehicle owners in the country are required to register their vehicle using their VIN on the VREG portal.

Ahmed said the creation of this registry became necessary to tackle the menace of customs duty evasion, vehicle theft, vehicle-related crimes and ineffective vehicle insurance coverage, among others.

Ahmed said this at the grand finale of the sensitization seminar on VERG held at the ministry in Abuja.

Quoting data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Ahmed said 45 percent of vehicles are smuggled into Nigeria annually; thus, evading duty payment. She noted that 40 percent of the vehicles are stolen.

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The minister also regretted that a case study found that Nigeria was the hub of stolen vehicles as VIN of vehicles in the country were usually unregistered, consequently, vehicles within the shores of Nigeria cannot be traced.

She said, “In a bid to address these challenges, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning launched the National Vehicle Registry (VREG), which is a national repository of vehicular information that seeks to provide a singular platform through which all relevant Agencies shall reference vehicular data with a view of ascertaining ownership and value information, capturing vehicular exchanges and utilizing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of all vehicles in Nigeria. Additional value is also accruable to the Federal Government, State Governments and related Agencies via this policy.

“Through this platform today, we are pleased to inform that the pilot phase of this project has commenced at the Nigeria Customs Service Kirikiri Light Terminal.

She informed that VERG will ensure enforceability of penalties placed on vehicles by regulators across the board.

Aliyu Ahmed, permanent secretary, finance, informed that the stakeholders involved in the implementation and realization of the VREG goal are — Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO); Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) & State revenue system; National Insurance Commission (NAICOM); Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSAO); Nigeria Customs Service (NCS); Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Transportation Commissioners Forum, among others.

Also speaking, the comptroller general of the Nigeria customs service Hammed Ali, who was represented by Galadima Saidu said the NCS is committed to implementing VERG as it will boost the service’s revenue and improve national security.